Lately, I’ve written many articles about Messenger referral marketing, and people started asking (fairly) if conventional referral marketing is dead.
The short answer to that is NO.
Yet, making a choice as far as it concerns the type of referral marketing your business needs, is no easy task.
I mean, how are you supposed to choose?
The sole purpose of this article is to lay down the facts and help you come into a decision. If you’re asking me, I say that you should go with both types.
Read below to learn why.
Do you need referral marketing in the first place?
Referral marketing is an important tool when it comes to controlling (in a way) the word of mouth surrounding your business.
I’ve already covered why word of mouth is the future of marketing, but the gist is that word of mouth is the primary factor behind 20% to 50% of all purchasing decisions and in the same time it’s a marketing channel based entirely on your product without relying on any other channel.
So, does your business need to leverage referral marketing?
In a typical Ron Swanson style, I’ll answer this question with some questions:
- Are you a SaaS product that’s in pre-launch?
- Do you have an eCommerce business that seeks to increase traffic and sales?
- Thinking of running a crowdfunding campaign for your new product?
- Do you want your app to grow like Dropbox?
- Are you planning to run a viral giveaway that will get you more than 30K leads?
Did I strike a nerve?
What I’m trying to say is, whatever your business goals are, you’ll always need to acquire new users in a cost-effective way.
Do you need referral marketing?
Exploring your options.
Now to the main subject of this article; should you run a referral campaign through Facebook Messenger, or should you go the conventional way about it?
First, we need to define what each choice means.
Running a referral campaign via Messenger means:
- The entire communication with your participants will be with the use of instant messages.
- You will not have to set up any other property to run your campaign (like a landing page).
- You will have to use a Messenger bot platform like Manychat.
With 90-95% open rate and click-through rates of 20-50%, messaging people on Messenger seems like an engagement paradise. The catch here is that in order for your message to get through, again and again, you have to have the appropriate format for it.
The fact that you won’t have to build a landing page for your campaign is a double-edged sword; while you’ll be able to avoid putting the resources to do something like that, on the other hand relying entirely on Facebook posts to spread the word about your campaign is limiting.
As for using a Manychat to build the automated flows, trust me, it’s no big issue. It’s really easy to set up, and the product itself has an amazing UX. You can keep track of your subscribers’ activity at any given time without any kind of friction.
Running a “normal” referral campaign means:
- The entire communication with your participants will be with the use of email.
- You will have to use a landing page to host your campaign.
I know that the engagement rates on Messenger look very attractive, but as the founders of Fetch & Funnel told us, you can write a long paragraph in an email, but you can’t write a long paragraph in Messenger.
In other words, email offers an opportunity to communicate a message in much more detail.
People are used to receiving promotional content in their email inboxes, but you have to figure out if your target audience is familiar with reading their emails at all.
Hosting your campaign on a dedicated landing page works under the same principles as with using email; you can get as detailed as you want about your referral marketing campaign.
Allowing the people to see the full benefits for participating in your campaign prior to subscribing is crucial. You can have total control over the design which- trust me, can play a huge part in the success of your campaign.
Making a choice.
In order for you to decide if you want to choose Messenger referral marketing instead of conventional referral marketing or vice versa, there are a few things you need to think.
- What’s your target audience?
- What’s the goal of the campaign?
- What are your resources?
If your audience scrolls their Facebook feed endlessly, the choice here is obvious. On the contrary, if you’re targeting people of business it’s more probable for your message to get through via their email inbox, as they are more used to it.
As far as it concerns the type of campaign, here’s what I propose:
- Pre-launch of a product: Conventional referral marketing campaign.
- Giveaway: Messenger referral marketing campaign.
- Crowdfunding: Conventional referral marketing campaign.
- Contests: Messenger referral marketing campaign.
- eCommerce sales: BOTH!
My point is that you should choose based on what aligns with your business goals and the people you’re targeting, but you don’t have to limit yourself.
You can always use both approaches simultaneously.
You want to be able to get your message across to as many channels as possible.
e.g. You’ll need email addresses for your webinar, in order to send people your educational content and your recordings. The most inexpensive way to gather registrations for a webinar is to run a Facebook ad to a Messenger bot that asks for people’s email address and it automatically registered them to a webinar.
Then you can ask them to invite their Messenger friends to the webinar in order to get access to more exclusive content.
Since you have their email addresses, you can later run a Milestone campaign (which is considered a conventional referral marketing campaign) for them, offering multiple rewards in order to get them to invite more of their friends.
You get it.
Before you go.
Both options have their pros and cons:
- Messenger cuts through the noise, but email gives you the space to explain things better.
- Conventional referral marketing gives you the flexibility of better design, but it needs more resources.
Although you’ll have to start with one of the 2 options, in the end, you can always use both. They might belong to under the same roof, but they are different entities.
Treat them as a functioning family (whatever that means in 2019. LOL). I can’t wait to see your campaigns.
Keep being awesome.